The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has distributed two million pineapple suckers to two export farmers at Pokrom in the Eastern Region.
Each of the two two farms – Golden Rivers Farm and Ohui Farms – received one million suckers.
The move is to enable the export farmers expand their farms in a bid to increase the export of the non traditional product, which is the leading agriculture product in the non traditional export sector.
Figures from GEPA show pineapple contributed 18.1million dollars to the non traditional export basket in 2017, representing 4.1 percent of the non traditional export growth in the country.
To sustain growth, GEPA under its supply base expansion programme launched in 2017, is supplying pineapple suckers to exporters, outgrowers and farmers.
Under that programme, a total of 16,890 suckers were supplied.
The two beneficiaries have welcomed the move by GEPA, indicating the gesture will reduce their cost of production and also save them the hustle of securing financial support from banks.
“Getting financial assistance to enable is buy suckers was a challenge. We are happy GEPA is supporting us,” Samuel Ntow Wiafe of Golden Rivers Farm told 3news.com.
For his part, Mr Ebenezer Adamtey of Ohui Farms said: “Without enough suckers, cost of production was high affecting turnover. With the suckers coming in, we can expand our farms by 200 per cent and employ more people; currently, we employ 60 casuals and 20 permanent staff”.
The farmers mentioned cost of inputs and encroachment of on their lands by estate developers as two more issues they want addressed.
“We are happy GEPA has solved one of our three challenges. What is left now is the reduction in cost of inputs and land matters. As I speak, estate developers want to take the leased land away from us. we are battling it at court. we shall surely win though,” a pinneable farmer, Eric Damtey said.
Eastern Regional Director GEPA, George Adomako, said the contribution of pineapple to the non traditional export cannot be underestimated, noting exporters and outgrowers planted 5,290 pineapples under the 2017 programme.
Project Coordinator, Kwabena Baffour, said GEPA intends to give out 13.3 million suckers this year to meet the request made by the exporters and farmers.
Of the figure, 7.3 million suckers will be smooth cyanne while six million will be MD2 and sugar loaf suckers.
Chief Executive of GEPA, Afia Asabea Asare, underscored the need to meet the countyr’s export demand to enable the Authority push the export agenda.
“Giving out suckers is not part of our mandate, but we need to meet production at the global market. We are not getting to meet out target, so we have become desperate to solve the challenges they have when we get back to the value chain to discuss issues.
“We aren’t stopping here, it’s not free lunch, we will monitor to ensure we get the maximum benefit for the country in terms of non traditional export .
By Yvonne Neequaye|3news.com|Ghana